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England: a national team hiding behind a series of court injunctions

By Imade Itup

Another England match, another England footballer wins an injunction  banning the reporting of allegations about his private life.  According to my records that is now three England players currently with publicly listed injunctions stopping the press and blogs from saying anything about their lives.

In considering the point I found myself meandering slightly (not for the first time). If I was married (which I am not, being very safely divorced these last ten years) and if I was having an affair in secret (which I am also not) then I guess I would be a bit fed up with the press hounding me and printing rubbish.

But, then if I earned £100,000 a week (which I don’t) and played for England (ditto) I guess I might think, well, for £5,200,000 a year maybe it is something I can live with, since I started it.  And that seems for me to be the dominant issue.

It also raises the point of whether it is fair to point out the problems that players have in their own lives.  Paul Merson actually handled all this in a different way all those years ago – he came out, admitted his problems, and in fact presented the press conference in such an honest and open way that no one with any sense of feeling could ever have criticised his approach.   He then went on and reformed himself, and earns an honest living being a prat for Sky.  Good for him, says I.  He’s a basic working class lad who couldn’t handle what hit him, and he’s reformed himself and is now honestly and truly himself.

And its a point which then turns me further again the England players with their injunctions, whoever they might be.

Of course what we don’t know are how many other gagging orders there are. John Terry, notorious whatnot and thing-person, went so far as to get an injunction preventing the announcement that there was an injunction, and so until that was lifted no one knew there was an injunction.

So assuming both announced and secret injunctions (the latter known as super-injunctions) are handed out in equal measures, we could have three England players with injunctions that we know about, and another three with super injunctions we don’t know about.

And maybe Mr Cappuccino and his staff also have a few super injunctions around (of course I don’t know, I just made that up).

It all looks a bit misty to me. Maybe Ashley Cole will tell us – after all he seems to be very adept at handling the old mobile phone, so he might have pictures of what is going on.

But a national team, hiding from its own country behind a series of injunctions obtained in the courts?  Oh come on.

Actually it is has been a dodgy week for international footballers, although ultimately our Jack came out of it all ok.  A statement by someone whose name I now forget said,  “Jack Wilshere was arrested by police in the early hours following a fracas but was released on bail later. The police have made it very clear that he is an important witness to the incident and played the role of peacemaker and is unlikely to face any charges as a result. Jack has made it very clear he will cooperate fully with the police investigation.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Police were called at approximately 2.45am on Sunday 29 August following reports of an assault on Kensington High Street.   Officers and London Ambulance Service attended and discovered a man and a woman suffering injuries….

“Officers subsequently stopped a vehicle and arrested four men on suspicion of assault. They were taken to west London police station and subsequently bailed to return in mid-October, pending further inquiries.”

I just wonder whether as a responsible football club we should be letting our young players mix with these England representatives for five or six days.  It seems inevitably to lead to a slippery slope.

But back to injunctions, the UK Parliament (ie Houses of Commons and Lords) has not passed a law preventing the publication of private information or laying down that making private information public is ‘misuse’.  But that is because the law doesn’t quite work in that way in the UK.

Of course there are all sorts of important laws made in Parliament, but equally on this side of the Channel, law is made through the rules of the judges.

(Actually I am going to pause here and quote our dear old pals the Daily Mail, who, if you don’t live in the UK, you may not know, follow a political line that makes the National Party of South Africa look like a bunch of left wing loonies.   The paper says, “In the past, newspapers, broadcasters and individuals have been free to say what they like as long as it is true.”)

I guess if you don’t know the Mail then “as long as it is true” doesn’t actually have you falling about on the floor, but anyway, having picked myself up, dusted myself down, and shaken it all about, let me move on…

Being part of the EU, the UK has signed up to the European Human Rights Act  which guarantee ‘respect for private and family life’.  As a result of which, as the Mail joyfully told us, “Mr Justice Eady ruled that it was wrong for the News of the World to publish a story about motor racing boss Max Mosley attending a sado-masochistic orgy with five prostitutes because it was a private occasion and there was no public interest in reporting it.”

Yes well, he would wouldn’t he?  You know what these judges are like!!!  But hang on, if it were wrong, isn’t it wrong for the Mail to republish the story?  And if so, isn’t it wrong for me to mention it?  Didn’t this just destroy my own argument?  Am I a Tottenham supporter in disguise, as another gentleman suggested in yesterday’s comments?

Who knows.  Lots of England players have injunctions or super injunctions stopping the likes of you and me talking about their privates, no sorry their private lives (slip of the finger, as it were).

Does it matter?   Does England FC matter?  Does the FA matter?

Probably not.  Although I do hope Gibbsy, Theo, and Our Jack, don’t get too badly injured falling over all these injunctions that slip out of other players’ pockets in the changing rooms.  (Actually, I wonder, for their own protection, do players now bring their lawyers into the changing room with them?)

And thus we have 16 players playing for the land that they may (or may not) have been born in, including the unpronounceable Wojciech Szczesny and the more pronounceable Vito Mannone, both of whom appear to be goalkeepers (although that can’t be right because we don’t do goalies at Arsenal, according to the blogs.)

Armand Traore has had a call up too – which raises a point and a half.  Juventus are huge, big, mega, large, and gigantic.  And yet they are toddling along to little Arsenal and saying “please can we have one of your boys for a year?”)  Doesn’t that start to put things in perspective?

But there’s a good bit of news, in that Carlos V is only down to play one game (this weekend) and so might be awake in time for next week’s Arsenal game, which would be jolly nice.  Cesc will be meeting those nasty little creatures from east Spain (I wonder if they do football injunctions overseas or is it just an English thing like sticking five year olds into uniform to go to school and getting headless in very large numbers from Friday lunchtime to Sunday night?) so we can expect a series of stories saying that he has told his grandmother who told his aunt who told a reporter that he is leaving Arsenal in January because he is so disappointed at Arsenal’s form thus far.

Last bit of twiddle (as befits a weekend like this).   Did you catch the list of 57 kiddies that Wenger submitted as our Under 21 squad to the League?   Bloody brilliant I thought.  What a put down for the “25” list.   Oh and those “25” rules don’t apply to the Carling Cup, FA Cup and of course the Champs League (that has its own list of players).

So there we are.   I’m off to see Guatemala under 12s play British West Hartlepool or something.

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15 comments to England: a national team hiding behind a series of court injunctions

  • dats

    Talking to your brother Iknowyoumade Itup he says there is now a super-duper injunction. This is an injunction preventing the announcement that there was an injunction preventing the announcement that there was an injunction.
    Play the music….Open the cage!!!

  • Gooneraside

    Quite agree, Mr. Itup. As these players represent us, we should know that they do is as we wish. As long as we hear the truth.

    The problem is that press reporting has sunk to its lowest possible level. For example, I can easily believe they would organise somebody to tug half-down a pair of jeans so they can publish a photo of Nic’s knicks. Fortunately, unlike the press, Nic came out of that one apparently stainless! 😉

    They’re willing to forget too that there are cretins out there who seek their five minutes of fame and are quite ready, willing and, sadly, able to believe them. Do they really believe that (we’ve got the) Jack was taking up-the-skirt photographs? Or do they actually know that there are football groupies who are likely to pose, showing more than to sportsmen than they would to us without any coercion, and are still ready to report crap?

    My suppositions are no worse (and just as believable) as many of theirs – and I don’t need to sell papers.

    Let’s get reporters on the first spaceship out of here – with no Hitch-hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy! 😉

  • Common Sensei

    Tony my friend you have started on the weekend tipples too easrly I fear it is not Friday night yet friend 😀 hehe

  • Common Sensei

    Infact following suit with these England players, because they seem to know what they are doing 🙂 Next time I want a secret affair, I will tell my agent to record the details, so he can then call up The Sun’s press office and tell them ‘You cannot print or talk about my client’s secret affair with Nicole Kidmans fit cousin’ because we have got this injunction.

    Because that makes sense doesn’t it 😉 Lol

  • Fem Dee

    Dear Mr. Imade Itup (really?),

    It is quite possible that by the very act of your publication, three writs of summons are awaiting you and your intrepid publishers for violating the terms of the injunctions by the mere act of mentioning them.

    Ooops! Did I just mention the damned word myself? Am I now going to be liable too.

    Anyhow, this is to complain that for those of us not privy to British tabloids, those of us living far from the shores of the UK, the story was a bit over our heads. We could guess at two names: a certain captain of a certain blue club in a certain capital of a certain realm and a certain other cashley member of the said certain blue team in the certain capital (I hope this gives me enough legal cover); of the third injunction wielder, we are clueless.

    I suppose mentioning their names directly put your made up reporter in further legal jeopardy. Not to worry, on account of your tip-off, I have opted to devote a little time on trolling the tabloids “gutters” for this specific “dirt”…

  • walter

    A bit off topic but yesterday in the Belgium press was reported that Vermaelen had some problems with his back. 🙁

    But it was assumed that he could play.

  • A Casual Observer

    With regards to Wilshire – further allegations were made by The Currant Bun that he tried to ‘get off with some bird’ in a Kensington night club earlier in the evening (I am paraphrasing here the Sun painted a picture of a booze-fuelled, misogynistic sex maniac i.e. your average 18 y/o lad). Apparently he kept trying to ‘grab at’ a young lady called ‘Josefin’… like some villian out of scooby doo.

    Also “He was drinking but wasn’t that drunk.” – where as in an account of the later incident he was entirely tee-total – one assumes that Josefin took a blood test while he was ‘grabbing at’ her moments before she was asked, possibly for the first time in her life, for an opinion other than ‘how much do you want from your trust fund this week’ by the sympathetic Sun journalist. I assume the probing unbiased questions went along the lines of: “So how drunk was he darling? Pissed, off his head or just rat-arsed? We’ll mention your name in the papers of course… maybe a picture; sure!”.

    I doubt that Jack is entirely innocent in all this, he is 18 after all and I remember when I was that age, and, to be quite frank – I was a bit of a twat too. Still – is this really news-worthy? It’s not as if he trades on his image as a role model like Theo arguably does… but Jack – well, he just needs to grow up and get a bit savvier to these kind things.

    And this is the point when a ‘celebrity’ nurtures a public image in the media regarding their private lives through, for example, ‘Hello’ photo-shoots of them with their loving family and faithful hound, their wedding and honeymoon and give interviews about what a fucking damn fine chap they are… then, unfortunately for them, their private lives are reasonably deemed of the public interest (with tabloid exposés therefore being IN the public interest) because they have traded in it for proprietary gain i.e. you become a media whore then you got to expect to get fucked at the first given opportunity.

    Mentioning no names of course….

    He’ll hoof the ball 40 yards *cough* *cough*

  • walter

    About those injuctions, you couldn’t have made it up. 😉

    As looking in to this as an outsider this has a lot of Monty Python in it. Is the rumour true that John Cleese is working in the Justice department?

  • John Cleese got divorced. The divorce settlement was far worse than he expected. So for the first time in 40 years he went on stage as a solo artist and did the rounds of the theatres in Britain.

    He called it “The Alimony Tour”

    Now that’s what I call style.

  • Sean

    I’ve long thought that the England team should be picked on character rather than size of club or reputation…..an old fashioned view, I know, but I’d interview each player before he got anywhere near the squad.

    As such, Cashley, Rooney, Gerrard, Beckham, Ferdinand, Terry etc. would have all bitten the dust long ago for lack of character, thus completely ridding the national team of the celebrity culture that has brought it to its knees.

    Such a policy would also, almost certainly, have resulted in a more successful England team.

  • A Casual Observer

    @Sean

    I would have rid the team of the players who lose games ‘against the odds’ if you know what I’m saying… serial underachievers and notorious gamblers.

  • Armin

    I honestly believe that national teams should be made from amateur and semi-amateur players. Why should I believe that Rooney will risk his salary in MUFC and risk to be injured playing for national team? I don’t say he wont, I don’t say there aren’t players who give all wearing national shirt. But somehow there is so many open space for doubts.
    So why not make it amateur competition, so every country will honestly show best talents they have, this way its more competition of investments.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Well, you might find the PM’s special team of buggers needing to get some injunctions soon…..

    NOTW ex editor, ex leader of Party, dodgy funder of party – all facing scurrilous accusations of mild, organised or absolutely disgusting wire tapping.

    I’m sure it was only NOTW – the Daily Mail, Mirror, the Sun wouldn’t do anything like that, would they?

    Nor would Gordon Brown………

  • Adam

    my money is on a pegnant sister inlaw.

  • Common Sensei

    Politicians and journos are hardly the most moralistic of people are they??

    if they were then why the hell would they be doing those jobs?

    Politicians are there to screw us all over, and journos are there to make sure we know how they are doing it